The Orange County Great Park is over 500-acres of public land located on the site of the decommissioned Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) El Toro in Irvine, California. The overall park area includes housing and open spaces that are linked together through a network of trails and greenbelts. The Overlook at Rise Park, designed by Studio One Eleven, is located within a vibrant and nature-inspired residential community of the Great Park. Serving as the centerpiece of the park, the 3,000 square foot, triangular- shaped terrace rises on clusters of splayed columns from raised planters below. Thoughtfully sited to capture panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, the terrace faces the setting sun in one direction and Santiago Peak of the Saddleback Mountains in the opposite. The geometry of the terrace orients visitors toward the sunsets of the winter and summer solstices and viewing scopes enable them to gaze at distant wildlife and natural scenery.
The terrace features multiple amenities that encourage social gathering, including an oversized community table with built-in seating, a custom-designed firepit, and selected loose furnishings that can be arranged to promote conversation or capture the best views throughout the day. A central opening in the terrace floor establishes a visual connection between the levels of the project, providing a view of the ground level water feature from the deck and a glimpse of the shade sail installation from below. Sustainably harvested Ipe decking, selected for its strength and longevity, adds a rich texture and the warmth of wood to complement the concrete and steel elements of the project.
Two installations developed by LC Studio Tutto are incorporated into the project, as the result of an international call for artists. ‘Celestial’ features several layered shade sails with swirling lines of sky-blue tones floating above the terrace, suggestive of wind currents and migratory bird flight paths. Three bird species, shown in silhouette at varying scales symbolize ﬂying at different heights, continuing the theme of elevation. ‘Into Sky’ is a collection of birds stamped onto the concrete below the deck, representing bird species native to the area conceptually connecting to ground plane to the terrace’s shade canopy above.
The project is designed to encourage people to explore and engage with art, architecture, and the natural environment in ways that they normally could not. It is designed for self-discovery, where visitors can experience different design elements or elevated views of the surroundings. Rather than imposing a specific point of view, the design fosters a sense of freedom, provides a place for neighbors to gather, or simply offers a beautiful place to spend a sunny afternoon.
Landscape Architecture: Studio One Eleven
Other designers involved: BrightView
Photography: Tsutsumida Pictures